Atkins Gears Up For Fall Release

Rodney Atkins is prepping the Oct. 4 release of his next album with a busy trip to his East Tennessee hometown, and a music video taping for fast rising single “Take A Back Road.” The title track of his fourth Curb Records album is already Top 10 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout chart.

Last week Atkins was in Harrogate, Tenn. for a taping of GAC Origins. During the trip he performed for thousands of fans at a Bristol, Tenn. NASCAR event. The singer also spent time at one of his favorite charities, the Holston Children’s Home, where he lived as a baby until being adopted.

Atkins is shooting his video today and tomorrow around Middle Tennessee for “Take A Back Road” with TV /film director Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Bounty Hunter).

This fall, football fans can follow Atkins’ picks on popular SEC site, where he will be the celebrity game predictor.

Harrogate, Tenn. Mayor Bill Fultz Atkins presents Atkins with the key to the city.


Biggest Loser Gets Vinny, Grainge Talks A&R, Lady A Fans Scavenge

Big Vinny

>>Big Vinny from Trailor Choir (aka Vicent Hickerson) is set to become a big loser this coming year as he competes on season 12 of the NBC hit reality show The Biggest Loser. Big Vinny will be one of 15 contestants weighing over 400 pounds and hoping to win the $250,000 prize. The season premiere begins Sept. 20.

Lucian Grainge

>>“A&R people are an indication of your commitment to new music and to new artists,” Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge tells the New York Post. “There are so many categories of A&R people; some are talent scouts, some have an instinctive sense of marketing, and others are brilliant at making records…The demographics are constantly changing—there are so many scientific factors and analytical tools—but some things will never change: the magic of innovation and raw talent.”

>>Lady Antebellum is giving fans something to get excited about, even before they release new album Own The Night, by launching an online scavenger hunt. Cameo Carlson, who heads Borman Entertainment’s digital business division told Billboard, the campaign increased Facebook activity by 40% and Twitter by 18% in the first six days. Plus it helped add 21,000 net emails to Lady A’s list. “We’re getting not just email addresses, but email addresses of fans who are really engaged,” Carlson says. “But it’s doing it in a more interesting way than just asking them to sign up for a newsletter.” Clues are revealed daily which send fans across the Internet to find a keyword. The album is set to launch on Sept. 13


Signings: Bobby Terry, Rose Falcon

Bobby Terry

Southern Crossroads Music has announced the signing of producer/songwriter/musician Bobby Terry to a worldwide publishing agreement. Southern Crossroads will represent Terry’s futures and back catalog, which includes cuts on Brad Paisley’s Time Well Wasted, Faith Hill’s Fireflies, and Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying.

“Bobby represents the important first brick in building a publishing company from the ground up in that he is a prolific writer and talented producer,” says Southern Crossroads Nashville Partner Pat Finch. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him and look forward to adding to such a stable foundation!”

Southern Crossroads also represents Nashville singer/songwriter Jabe Beyer whose songs have been featured in HBO’s True Blood and the Fox-TV’s Lie to Me, among others. Also on the roster are UK-based Americana acts Danny and the Champions of the World and Owen James Harvey.

• • •

Show Dog-Universal Music has signed Rose Falcon to an exclusive recording contract. The Nashville-raised singer is the daughter of singer/songwriter Billy Falcon (“Power Windows”) and previously recorded a pop album (Rose Falcon) with Columbia in 2003. She is signed to Cal IV for publishing, and her songs have been featured in numerous television shows and commercials. Recently, “Give Into Me,” a song she wrote with her father and Elisha Hoffman, was recorded by Faith Hill for the Country Strong soundtrack.

(L-R): Manager Dan Harrell, Falcon, SDU label President Mark Wright and Cal IV Entertainment President Daniel Hill

Americana Honors Set For Live TV Broadcast

Jim Lauderdale will host the Americana Music Association's Honors and Awards, which will air live on NPT Oct. 13.

The upcoming Americana Music Association Honors and Awards will be broadcast live on Nashville Public Television to the Middle Tennessee viewing area on NPT channel 8. Confirmed to appear at the Oct. 13 show at the Ryman are genre stalwarts and rising stars including Jim Lauderdale, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman, Elizabeth Cook,  Hayes Carll, The Secret Sisters, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and The Civil Wars.

“It was time to bring the Americana Honors to another level,” explains Jed Hilly Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “We could not have better partners in Nashville Public Television President and CEO Beth Curley for our Middle Tennessee premiere and Austin City Limits Executive Producer Terry Lickona to take this to a national audience.”

In addition to the live awards broadcast, an edited version of the show will be aired Nov. 19 as a special episode of the new season of acclaimed PBS series Austin City Limits (check local listings).

The program will be taped by High Five Entertainment and co-produced by its President Martin Fischer along with Lickona, Courtney Gregg, Holly Lowman, and Hilly.

The Honors and Award Show is the capstone event of the Americana Music Festival and Conference presented by Nissan, running Oct. 12-15, 2011 in Nashville. A limited number of awards tickets are available at For more information go to

Nettles To Host “CMA Country Christmas”

Jennifer Nettles hosting last year's "CMA Country Christmas" special.

For the second consecutive year, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland will host CMA Country Christmas, set to air on the ABC Television Network during the upcoming holiday season.

The show will tape in front of a live audience on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. This is the evening following the Nov. 9 CMA Awards, which will also take place at the Bridgestone. Performers, television airdate, and ticket information will be announced soon.

In 2010, the first CMA Country Christmas drew an average audience of 7.3 million viewers in its first airing on Nov. 30, 2010, topping original programming on NBC and FOX by wide margins. The special re-aired on Dec. 22, 2010, reaching another 4.25 million viewers, for a combined total of more than 11.5 million viewers.

Robert Deaton is the executive producer, Paul Miller is the director, and David Wild is the writer.

Chesney Ends Tour With Hurricane of Activity

(l-r): Morris Artists Management Group Executive Vice President and CMA Board member Clint Higham, CMA Board member Connie Bradley, CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore, CMA Board member Bob DiPiero, Matraca Berg, Kenny Chesney, Brett James, Wendell Mobley, and Craig Wiseman. Photo credit: Natasha Moustache

Kenny Chesney’s 2011 Goin’ Coastal Tour celebrated its last weekend, in Boston, with a two-show hurricane of activity. To be exact, the Sunday 8/28 performance was rescheduled for Friday 8/26 because of approaching hurricane Irene and Saturday went on as scheduled. Together, the two shows sold over 106,000 tickets at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. Chesney called the crowd, “one of the loudest and most loving crowds of the tour.”

Guests included Billy Currington and Zac Brown Band. Mid-show, CMA President Steve Moore presented Chesney keyboardist Wyatt Beard with the organization’s first-ever Touring Musician of the Year Award.

While in Boston the Luttrell, TN homeboy appeared with hit songwriters Bob DiPiero, Matraca Berg, Brett James, Wendell Mobley and Craig Wiseman as part of the CMA’s sold-out Songwriter Series at the Royale Nightclub. The show was streamed live on Chesney’s Noshoesradio Internet station. Chesney also visited with Boston College football team, the Eagles and later spent an hour practicing with the New England Patriots. (Reportedly he missed a pass from quarterback Tom Brady…)

The weekend capped an incredible run with over 1.1 million tickets sold for the Goin’ Coastal Tour.



Four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney and CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore presented the inaugural CMA Touring Musician Award to Chesney keyboard player Wyatt Beard Saturday during the Foxboro Stadium concert date in Boston. (l-r): Wyatt Beard; Shirley Beard, mother; Chesney; Karyn Beard, wife; Moore; and RD Beard, father. Photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Country Hall Hosts Jerry Foster • Newcomers Play Puckett’s

Jerry Foster

Poets and Prophets With Jerry Foster
Acclaimed songwriter Jerry Foster will take a seat at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Sat., Sept. 10 as the latest subject of the Poets and Prophets: Legendary Country Songwriters series. Along with Bill Rice, the acclaimed duo wrote songs for some of country music’s biggest stars of the 1960s and ’70s, including Mickey Gilley (“Here Comes the Hurt Again”), Jerry Lee Lewis (“Would You Take Another Chance on Me”), Johnny Paycheck (“Someone to Give My Love To”), Charley Pride (“The Day the World Stood Still”) and Conway Twitty (“Ain’t She Something Else”). The duo is one of the most honored songwriting teams in history, and both were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.

Foster will sit down with Museum Editor Michael Gray for the 90-minute interview on Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Ford Theater. It will include a performance, recordings, photos and film clips from the Museum’s Frist Library and Archive. Immediately following, Foster will sign autographs in the Museum Store. Details and live streaming of the interview at

The Lunabelles

Puckett’s Up ‘N’ Comers Night
Puckett’s Grocery in downtown Nashville has teamed with Sony, ASCAP, and PCG Nashville to showcase new artists on Monday nights. The series called Puckett’s Up ‘N’ Comers Night launches with a string of performances by Sony act The Lunabelles, including a show tonight (8/29) as well as Sept. 19. The band is currently working on its debut album.

On Sept. 26 the showcase series will feature rising songwriters Carly Pearce, Elliot Collett, Brent Cobb and Cailtlyn Smith.

Details at

Industry Ink: Dierks, Lifenotes, HealthTrust Dinner

Capitol Records artist Dierks Bentley has hit the brakes to join up with Red Light Management’s Nashville office. Red Light also just announced the addition of music industry veteran Tracy Gershon to the staff.

• • • •

Things are about to get spooky for the Paradigm Agency, which just signed Funk/R&B group Here Come The Mummies to its talent roster. The mysterious nine piece band, comprised of several professional musicians, performs onstage in mummy costumes in order to remain anonymous. Members have adopted stage names such as Eddie Mummy, Mummy Cass, and K.W. Tut. “Here Come the Mummies are a fresh, original music act,” says Bob Kinkead of the Paradigm Agency. “They combine incredible musical skill with unparalleled showmanship. They represent everything Paradigm looks for in a new act.” Here Come The Mummies is currently touring and will release its fifth independent album in October.

• • • •

Farris Nicole Warwick

Congratulations go out to Recording Academy Project Manager Alicia Warwick and husband Chris on the birth of their daughter Farris Nicole Warwick. She was born August 16 and weighed 6 lbs., 14 oz.

• • • •

Condolences to family and friends of Lofton Creek Records founder and CEO Harold Shafer, who passed away Saturday (8/27) from complications following a fall and a stroke. He was 76. The successful businessman from Jacksonville, Florida launched Lofton Creek Records and brought in Mike and Martha Borchetta to help run the business. The label first hit with Keith Bryant’s “Riding With The Legend” in 2004 and then had another smash with Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” in 2006. In 2008, Lofton Creek was named MusicRow’s Mid-Size Label of the Year. Shafer’s visitation will take place 6-8 pm Tuesday (8/30), and his memorial service is 11 am Wednesday (8/31) at Hardage Giddens Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

• • • •

The first Evening in the Round at the HealthTrust Conference Dinner, sponsored by BMI, took place at the Opryland Hotel on August 16. Over 600 attendees from the hospital industry enjoyed performances from songwriters Sarah Buxton, Billy Montana, Lee Thomas Miller, and Doug Johnson.

(L-R): (back) BMI’s Bradley Collins and Rick Schrock, guitarist Tom Bukovac, BMI’s Jack Flynn, HealthTrust COO Ed Jones, Doug Johnson, Billy Montana, Trinity Health Leadership Sr. VP Supply Chain & Capital Projects Management Louis Fierens II, and HealthTrust VP Marketing & Members Services Doug Swanson; (front) Lee Thomas Miller, BMI’s Jessica Frost, and Sarah Buxton. Photo: Julie Stuckey

Gershon Joins Red Light Management

Tracy Gershon

As first tipped by MusicRow last week, Red Light Management has officially announced the hiring of longtime music business pro Tracy Gershon. She joins the Nashville office where she will continue to co-manage Big Machine recording artist Ella Mae Bowen, and Erin Enderlin, as well as manage the writing interests of Grammy-winning artist and songwriter Rodney Crowell. She will also take an active role handling A&R for the Red Light roster.

Gershon was most recently a Sr. VP at Warner Chappell Music, and has held executive posts at EMI and Sony Music publishing, Sony Records and Warner Bros. records.

“Returning to management makes perfect sense for me,” says Gershon.  “I moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 1988 and managed several artists. For the past two decades, I have worked as an A&R executive at both record labels and publishing companies. This experience, along with the vision and resources of [Red Light head] Coran Capshaw, make the transition to Red Light an exciting foundation for which to build my clientele.”

The management firm’s Nashville roster includes Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, The Lunabelles, Jennette McCurdy, Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, Tammy Wynette estate, Third Day and Kerrie Roberts.

Gershon can be reached at:
124 12th Ave. S., 6th Floor
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 279-3784, [email protected]

Red Light Management has offices in Charlottesville, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York.

Charlie Cook On Air

Tweeting For Radio, Artist and Listener

You can go to another page on this site and see that Taylor Swift has over 7 million twitter followers. I have answered a few of her tweets but alas, have not heard directly back from her.

That is the downside of Twitter—it is most often a one way communication. Except for Blake Shelton, who apparently puts down his beer to tweet back unless he’s mastered one hand texting. As an aside for Blake: don’t drink and drive and don’t text and drive. Get Blake a driver.

I like Twitter. I don’t really use it too much because even I don’t care what I am doing 24/7. I can’t expect many others care. And when you have nothing to tweet for a couple of days does that make you look pathetic? Now you see what I do in my free time.

That said, Twitter is a cool marketing tool for Country Music acts because we know that there is no more loyal group of fans than Country Music fans. If Taylor can tweet that she enjoyed Minneapolis and that the crowd was responsive I can see her fans wishing they were there to see the show.

If Blake tweets that he had to step off stage to pee, I can see his fans, well maybe they wouldn’t exactly want to be there, but they become engaged in his irreverence.

I have spoken to Scott Borchetta about this a couple of times and I know that he works closely with his acts to stay engaged in blogs and tweets. Scott is one of the best marketers in our genre and he gets it as well as anyone. He also knows that Twitter is only one way to market. And that is my point today.

Earlier this year I read an article by an Erica Swallow (I am so glad that this is not being tweeted to Blake) on Mashable. Erica used examples of successful tweets so I went back and looked at those and then some of the artist sites.

What many artists miss are the opportunities to use their fans as viral marketers. If I follow an artist I would be included in the tweets, but I am always looking for a way to pay off the listener. On the radio side we talk about a promotion benefiting the sponsor, the listener, and the station. Two out of three is not good enough.

What do your artists do to pay off the listener? A contest for a free download a day?   How about a personal phone call to one of your followers each week? A promotion to win a pair of tickets when you’re in their market? This is the kind of stuff that will encourage tweet-chatters to share tweets and hashtags in their personal social network.

Not only will this help you build your followers but build the kind of additional loyalty that help you sell an extra 10,000 downloads over the life of a CD.

Now, you cannot live on Twitter alone. Facebook still is the big gun for your acts but one of the things that I like about Twitter over Facebook is the longer life span of a tweet and the apparent immediacy that Twitter brings. Because Twitter has become so associated with breaking news it appears to be more “important” and not so much a social gathering spot like Facebook.

So how does all of this tie Radio and your Artists together? I know that many radio stations follow acts and forward tweets about those acts to their followers but how about making sure that you’re not missing these opportunities? Why not take the initiative away from the radio programmer and guarantee that your activities are being sent to the right people?

Do radio stations have a list of hashtags of their acts anywhere on their websites? This is the kind of stuff that the Country Music listeners expect from the music and their stations. Make their life easier and yours more accessible. If you think that following someone is as easy as stumbling across them on Twitter you’re wrong. Everyone needs to reach out.

Remember that this has to benefit all three elements. Radio, Artist and the Listener.